92°Mostly Cloudy

GDoN-Revisited by Hipchickindc, Funeral Home Edition, – 391 Rhode Island Ave NW

by Prince Of Petworth September 23, 2011 at 11:00 am 33 Comments

Hipchickindc is a licensed real estate broker. Her latest business venture can be seen here Unless specifically noted, neither she nor the company that she is affiliated with represented any of the parties or were directly involved in the transaction reported below. Unless otherwise noted, the source of information is Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS), which is the local multiple listing system. Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Featured Property: 391 Rhode Island Ave NW
Legal Subdivision: LeDroit Park
Advertised Subdivision per Listing: LeDroit Park
Original List Price: $955,000.
List Price at Contract: $799,000.
List Date: 02/20/2011
Days on Market: 180
Settled Sales Price: $850,000.
Settlement Date: 09/21/2011
Seller Subsidy: $0.
Bank Owned?: No Short Sale? No
Type Of Financing: Cash

Original post is: here.

The listing can be seen: here.

This was never actually offered up as an official “Good Deal or Not” (GDoN) post, however, PoP’s post from 08/09/11 (linked above) titled “Frazier’s Funeral Home for Sale in Ledroit Park” garnered a lot of interest. As several commenters noted, the building had housed the Frazier’s Funeral Home business for many decades and is known for its love-it-or-hate-it formstone and bright blue awnings. The very visible property is located at the well traveled intersection of Florida Ave NW, Rhode Island Ave NW, and 4th St NW. Apparently, as recently as 2007, the business had been operating, although, not without some challenges.

Some discussion came about regarding the generational aspect of neighborhood funeral businesses. Typically, they are grand properties and like many generational neighborhood businesses, are rapidly disappearing. Hall Brothers Funeral Home is located a couple of blocks to the west of the subject property at 619 and 621 Florida Avenue NW. 621 Florida Ave NW sold in 2005. 619 Florida Ave NW, which was the parlor (probably viewing and visiting) part of the home, sold in 2009 and is currently on the market for over a million dollars (unfortunately, with no interior pics or virtual tour). This PoP post shows 621 on the left and 619 on the right.

Continues after the jump.

Funeral homes bring up some interesting objections, not the least of which is the general ick factor. I tend to agree with Mr. T’s comments, though, that you’re probably more likely to get some good ghosts in a regular house as opposed to a place where bodies were stored. On a serious note, however, the concerns about the chemicals used in the embalming process can potentially be an issue (I am not aware of the specific circumstances of the subject property), not unlike the environmental issues posed by dry cleaning chemicals or meth labs.

This sale included both the large commercial property (zoned C2A, which is desirable to developers due to its flexibility), as well as a small lot. There are rumors, but I’m not going to speculate as to the future use of the property. I side with the commenters who hope that the property remains intact, albeit naked of formstone.

  • Anonymous

    oh come on hipchick, what are the rumors?

    • Anon

      For real, just speculate. Everyone will appreciate it.

    • Jack5

      Its gonna be a pizza place, they want to keep the oven. Sorry in advance for the joke.

      • Anonymous

        Just threw up in my mouth.

      • Veronika

        it’s a funeral home, not a crematory, lol

  • jm

    850k for a massive, dual commercial-residential zoned building + lot at the intersection of two highly traveled avenues? that’s a spooky good deal I think.

    • Anon

      Perfect place for a gas station!

      • Anonymous

        hahaha. so needed at that intersection!

        • Veronika

          there is a BP across the street

          • Anonymous

            you not much for jokes, huh?

  • anonymous

    yes, i think it is very poor journalism/service to the community to reference rumours without giving detail. if someone told you not to tell, just post anonymously. i’m sure you’re not the only one who knows, so it could be anyone writing the comment.

    • Anonymous

      oh please. “poor journalism”? no need to be insulting.

    • Anon

      Good thing hipchick is a realtor and not engaged in journalism or community service.

      However, I am dying to know!

  • andy

    i heard the rumor is that it is going to reopen as a meth lab!

  • Anonymous

    the castle like decorations on the roof of the building are awesome!

  • Sorry, not trying to be coy. I spoke to somebody directly involved in the transaction and that person vaguely provided information about something that may or may not come to fruition.

    My guess is that the most likely scenario is residential condos.

    • Mr. Normal

      Wow, that’s some great inside info. The rest of us would never be able to guess that.

      • Thank you for your comment. That’s not the inside info. That’s MY guess.

    • Lame

      Fruition? Sounds like a gay club.

  • Q-Street

    I looked at this when it was listed in the mid $400’s two years ago. Needed a $250k renovation, so I passed, but was definitely a good deal for someone in a different business. It’s still an ok deal at $850k for commercial/speculation, but I’m not sure why it didn’t receive more attention in 2009.

    • Good question. I had clients who looked at the triangular building across the street in 2001 for $250k and didn’t buy it. Oh well.

      Realistically, though, a lot has happened in the area even since 2009. The Howard Theater, the United Negro College Fund Building, Shaw’s Tavern, etc. are making things interesting over there now.

      • Linds

        Woooo Ledroit/Bloomingdale, coming up in the world! :)

  • Word on the street is catapult factory

  • Ledroiter

    My sources tell me it’s going to be gut-renovated and transformed into DC’s most cutting-edge funeral parlor.

  • JohnnyReb

    I have been fascinated with this building since I was a child – as much as I hate formstone, I can’t hate this building. My guess is that whatever is under the fake stone doesn’t have the crenelation, and that was added for romantic effect when it was remuddled. Probably will look rather pedestrian once “Balmer’s Finest” is stripped off!

  • Anonymous

    They’re wrong. Any cutting edge funeral homes will be located on Kennedy St, aka Funeral Home Row

    • Anonymous

      D’oh! That was a response to LeDroiter

      • Andrew

        Anonymous is right: Horton’s on Kennedy St. already has a lock on the Funeral Home / Car Wash business.

  • andy

    Heard it’s gonna be a new condo complex known as “The Coffins.” Typical apartment size will be 96 sq ft 2BRs.

    • jm

      priced at only $400,000 everyone will be dying to get one!

      • Veronika

        you all are terrible :)

  • Anonymous

    god i hope they keep the formstone.

  • Rich

    Ann Sather’s, the long running brunch place in the Lakeview/Boystown section of Chicago near the Belmont “L” spent decades in a former funeral home before moving to larger quarters. Granted, DC is a prissier, snottier place than Chicago, but the neighborhood’s hipster pretensions can probably overrule some of that. Given the closeness to the street, I could see a restaurant, with offices above doing fine there. The corner would be too noisy for condos.


Subscribe to our mailing list